The gloves are still off for James Dolan in his fight with state booze regulators.
The Madison Square Garden CEO again threatened to ban alcohol sales at an upcoming Rangers game, in hopes that thirsty fans will take their anger out on the government liquor officials who are trying to stop his use of facial recognition software.
“I don’t think I’d ban beer at Rangers games, but maybe,” he told WFAN radio Friday one day after he unveiled the idea in an interview with Fox 5.
When the hosts on the Carton and Roberts show said that such a ban would probably make fans angry at him not the State Liquor Authority — Dolan seemed to double down, and even repeated the phone number of SLA CEO Sharif Kabir.
“We of course want to sell alcohol at every event, right, at Madison Square Garden,” he said.
“The [State Liquor Authority] is threatening us with our ability to do that, now with you as a fan, would you rather have one day without alcohol that enables us to stop us from loosing a whole season of alcohol or do you want us to lose a whole season?”
The move comes months after the SLA suggested that MSG could lose its ability to sell alcohol at Rangers and Knicks games if Dolan does not stop using facial recognition software to ban opponents.
Dolan has faced mounting criticism in recent months after at least four lawyers got ejected from MSG and Radio City Music Hall because they worked for firms locked in litigation against MSG, whether or not they were personally involved.
“I recognize that facial recognition software can aid in securing large venues, but Mr. Dolan has abused this technology to fuel his personal vendettas – not make games safer,” state Sen. Brad Hoylman-Sigal wrote in a Jan. 27 letter to the commissioners of the NBA and NHL.
“I implore both of your organizations to use your power and discipline MSG and Mr. Dolan for these alarming abuses unless they immediately cease profiling fans with facial recognition technology for non-security purposes,” he added.
Dolan said that there are no immediate plans to deprive Rangers fans of alcohol at games while reserving the right to make such a move at a time of his choosing.
“There is no plan at this point to that all right?” he said. “The beer is safe and waiting for you.”
He repeated his threat, however, to place signs with Kabir’s image and number near beer stands in the area, which he first floated during an interview with Fox.
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